"The National Archives of the United States", a coffee table commemorative book, was first published in 1984, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Archives. The agency and its imposing headquarters in Washington, D.C. are probably best known for the display of the original Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of the Rights, but in fact the Archives house much more of interest.
Herman Viola provides the narrative of the book, which describes the collections of the Archives, from key documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation to international treaties to the results of the national census. Historian David McCullough provides an introduction to set some perspective on the collection, including its many photographs and maps, and why the average visitor might care. For example, genealogists now mine the Archives for family research, including drawing on service records from the nation's early wars.
This volume is very nicely illustrated with color photographs of various items in the collections, including, for example, some especially interesting photographs of Abraham Lincoln, General Sherman and other notables from the Civil War era. The collections, and this book, won't appeal to everyone, but "The National Archives of the United States" is recommended to readers with a well-developed interest in the documentation of history.
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